Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Author Interview: Kat Zhang

I am delighted to be interviewing with author Kat Zhang, author of What's Left of Me, book one in The Hybrid Chronicles.


I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t...

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing.
I'm currently a senior at university, a bit of a film geek, and a professional dabbler :) I've been writing since I was very little, which seems to be relatively common for us author-folk. I started in poetry, which I got into through a book of the complete collect of Winnie-the-Pooh, which had a collection of A.A. Milne's poetry for children in the back. After that, I moved on to some really terrible plays, and finally, prose :)

Speaking of plays, I saw that you used to write play adaptations for your stuffed animals. Would you tell us a little about one of your favorite adaptations and who the stars were?
Ooh, I can hardly remember most of them, now! The one I recall best is the one I mention in my bio--about the Wizard of Oz with some switched out characters because I lacked the right stuffed animals ;) My friend and I must have been about 8 or 9, and we built a little "theater" in the corner of my room out of plastic crates, using a towel for a stage curtain. I can't remember who/what we used for Dorothy :P

I remember creating worlds for my stuffed animals with my brother when we were young. Why did you decide to set What's Left of Me in an alternate universe, and what has the world building process been like?
Well, the idea for What's Left of Me was born from the idea of someone trapped in their own body, and then the notion of people with two souls. So the world would always have to be some kind of fantasy! I never really considered putting the story in a world too different from our own, though. I always wanted the setting to be pretty much our world, but with a few relatively major historical differences.

It's interesting to consider how different our world would be just by making little tweaks, like having two souls share a body. When did you realize that What's Left of Me was going to be the first book in a series?
I started getting the idea when I got to the end of the first draft and realized the ending wasn't truly the end :P But I wasn't positive there were going to be more books until we sold the series as a trilogy.

There's a saying that two heads are better than one, but things must get complicated when both share a body. What challenges did you face while writing about two girls trapped in one body?
Pronouns can be a hassle! (this is even more true when I'm dealing with multiple hybrids!). I also had to be careful about some of the metaphors I used. Eva can't "feel sick to her stomach," for example, unless Addie is feeling the same way.

That's an interesting thought. We rely so much on bodily sensations, but I've never considered what it'd be like if my thoughts were at odds with my physiological processes. If you were trapped in a body, unable to move and without company except for the other soul in your body, what would you do?
I imagine I'd make up a lot of stories to keep myself entertained ;)

And then you'd have a lot of awesome stories to share with the world once you found a way to get your thoughts out there! :) If you were to friend a Hybrid and visit the Hybrid's world for a week, where where would you go and what would you do?
Well, to be honest, there isn't a ton to do in the Americas that can't be done in our world. In fact, they're "worse" off because they don't have things like internet, or cellphones, and they've got fewer movies, and things like that. I think I'd just hang out with my main characters and ask them why they get into so much trouble :P

Haha... let us know when you find that out! What are you working on right now?
Book two of The Hybrid Chronicles!


Kat Zhang spent most of her childhood tramping through a world weaved from her favorite stories and games. In addition to writing, Kat also performs as a Spoken Word poet and contributes to Pub(lishing) Crawl, a site for aspiring writers to talk about books, storytelling craft, and the publishing process. When she is not exploring the world of her characters, she is exploring her own. To date, she's had the pleasure of visiting five countries, including more than half of the United States. She hopes to always keep writing and traveling.


Related Posts
Review of What's Left of Me


2 comments:

  1. Great interview Kat and Kris. I loved Kat's book. The idea of two souls in one body is so unique and Eva's story was SO compelling.

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  2. I haven't read this book yet, unfortunately but it sounds amazing! The idea of it is so unreal that it just makes me want to pick it up and read it because of its fantastical quality.

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